Khat in colonial Kenya (article)
David Anderson and Neil Carrier, "Khat in Colonial Kenya: A History of Prohibition and Control," Journal of African History 50/3 (2009): 377-397.
Yeman and the qat trade (article)The English edition of Le Monde diplomatique, December 2009, includes an article, "Yeman's Afternoon High." For the article, see here. The author, Roger Gaess, also took photographs published as a gallery in the same publication, January 2010. For the pictures, see here.
Chewing the narcotic khat leaf: should Americans think of it as like coffee or cocaine?
Khat is chewed legally as a social tonic and stimulant in the Horn of Africa and parts of the Middle East, but it is illegal in the USA. In America khat users are members of the Ethiopian, Somalian, and Yemen immigrant communities. Although it is unlikely that other Americans are likely to chew khat, it is possible that they may eventually use it in other forms. For instance, young Israelis who frequent clubs have begun to experiment with a pill known as "hagiagat," a Hebrew word that may be translated as "party khat." A Somali immigrant, Starlin Mohamud, is writing a dissertation on khat at San Diego State University. Apparently it focuses on social problems associated with khat use among immigrant groups in the USA. For more, see here.
A game of khat and mouse
Khat is a shrub that grows only in East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, and it has suddenly joined the ranks of Canada's most problematic illicit drugs.
Seventeen tonnes were seized last year in crackdowns in Newfoundland, Quebec, Ontario and Alberta. Police now seize more khat than cocaine, heroin, opium, crack, meth and Ecstasy combined. That's partly because it's a bulky drug. Still, there were almost 900 seizures in 2006.
A National Post investigation has found that, despite a crackdown at the border and police probes of the major smuggling rings, shipments are still arriving regularly at Canadian distribution points such as restaurants and coffee shops, where it is sold from backroom counters. The Post found khat being openly bought, sold and consumed in Toronto.
Read more here.
Somali Islamists gone, so ‘khat’ is back
Perhaps the most telling sign of Somalia's remarkable power shift is the rapid return to Mogadishu's streets of the leafy twigs known as 'khat'.
Traditionally chewed by most Somali men, but outlawed since June by Islamic courts, the mild stimulant reappeared within hours of Mogadishu's recapture by government forces last week.
Middle East Online reports.
Brooke, Clarke. “Khat.” In Kenneth F. Kiple and Kriemhild Conee Ornelas, eds., The Cambridge World History of Food (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 671-684. [History of the use of these psychostimulant evergreen leaves and stem tips in teas, pastes, and masticatories in Asia, Africa, and Madagascar.]
Khat tales: Trouble brews over Somalis' favourite drug
The Globe and Mail reports (11 June 2005) that chewing khat in Somalia is "like drinking coffee after a meal here in Canada." Chewing khat for recreational and religious purposes is a habit as common as lighting a cigarette in Somalia. But in Canada, khat has been blacklisted as a narcotic ever since Parliament passed the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act in the late 1990s.
While border officials are trumpeting seizures of $3.2-million worth of khat since January, Somali immigrants in Toronto are blaming the crackdown for festering tensions in their community. Last month, officials seized $1.1-million worth of the drug in the Greater Toronto Area, slightly up from $980,000 during the comparable period in 2004. Find the full story here.
Ethiopia swaps coffee for drugs
BBC News reported in December 2003 that farmers in Ethiopia are giving up coffee growing in place of khat, which is easier to grow, less prone to pests and can be harvested up to three times a year. Even more importantly it brings in around three times the income of coffee. Find the full story here.
Khat Prices Increase As Growers Take to Vanilla
The Monitor (Kampala) reported on 18 February 2005 that the price of khat - also known as mairungi- a herbal drug with an intoxicating effect - has been hiked. Growers at Mabira Forest on the Kampala - Jinja Highway, said this follows the introduction of vanilla farming as an alternative and competitive income generating agricultural activity. Find the full story here.
Khat Shortage in Somalia
BBC News reported in 2001 on the shortage of khat leaves in Somalia after a trade ban was imposed by Kenya earlier that year. Prices of the leaf quadrupled overnight, while militiamen set up road blocks to ensure they get hold of part of the dwindling supply. Khat has become popular among militiamen, but has been bad for the economy and for people's health. Khat is banned in the US, Canada, Sweden and Norway. Find the full story here.